Monday, March 18, 2013

Spotlight: A Whisper In The Jungle by Robert Mwangi

I'd like to welcome author Robert Mwangi to Socrates' Book Review Blog.  He was nice enough to tell us a bit about his book and give us an interview.  Thank you, Robert and welcome!

Book Blurb

Deep in the African jungle where even the bravest are afraid to venture, lies a truth that will propel James through his improbable American journey, if he can come out alive. James a village boy in Africa receives a scholarship to go and study in America and he becomes the envy of the whole village. His girlfriend Janny is however skeptical of what a long distance relationship can do to love. But when Janny vanishes from the village, James and his dog Simba plunge into the belligerent forest at the risk of his life and his American dream. Love transcends all. ‘A Whisper in the Jungle’ is a suspense story full of love, humor and adventure.

Author Interview

Who is the greatest influence in your writing?

            When I was 15 years old in Africa, I had a folder full of short stories that I had written. See, back then, we didn’t have a TV in my home and the only way I could see the world was through books by Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock… and later on Danielle Steel, Robert Ludlum, and John Grisham amongst others. I tried to travel through my stories. In the middle of an African village I tried to feel the raindrops in Paris and the Miami sand on my feet. At the age of 15, my mind was pure and open to anything. Now, and many year later, it’s the fifteen year old boy inside me who does most of the writing.

How did you come up with the idea for A Whisper in the Jungle?

            After the age of fifteen, life happened and I stopped writing. But one day in America, and many years later, I came home and just like that, I started writing. I keep thinking it was triggered by the poetic words from the gladiator movie or the eloquent words of a US Senator running for President. Whatever it was, I started writing fervently and it felt really good.

            I didn’t know what I was doing or writing about. I wrote a little everyday after work and before I knew it, I had six hundred pages. I went back and read the whole thing over and realized that I had just written the story of my generation; the postcolonial generation of Africa. I edited the book down to 200 pages.

            Charles Dickens says: For the writer that is natural has fulfilled all the rules of art.” I believe that I did, without even knowing.

How long does it take you to write a book?

            There is a difference between writing a book and writing a story. Writing a story is easy and it takes one year to figure out the twists and turns. But turning the story into a book can take an extra year or two year because it not only involves editing and rewriting almost every sentence structure, but also … exhaling… letting go…its hard to part with that which means so much to you.

How did it feel when you first saw your book being published?

            When I received my first published book, I placed it on my end table and kept looking at it. I kept another copy on the passenger seat in my car and occasionally glanced at it. It felt surreal and it took a long time to sink. I still get confused when people call me an Author.

Favorite Authors or books?

            At the moment, am addicted to the work of Clive Cussler and John Hart because these two Authors are very descriptive: you can hear footsteps when someone is running.     But when I was 15 or 16 years old, it was Frank Peretti’s book ‘The Present Darkness’ that resonated with me. I’m currently working on a third book and the working title is ‘Angel Mikel the First Knight’. Again, it’s the fifteen-year old boy inside me doing all the writing and it was inspired by Frank Peretti’s book.

Author Bio

I was born under the hills of Mt. Kenya in a post colonial Africa. Most of our teachers in Africa didn’t like us reading western novels because they wanted us to learn about our culture. But many a times I stole myself under a tree with an Enid Blyton or Robert Ludlum and my eyes glowed as I journeyed across the oceans.

The new me doesn’t write much but the little boy inside me is the one who does all the writing because he believed in those stories then from the bottom of his heart.


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